The field hockey team can breath a sigh of relief.
Despite much improvement over last year’s squad, the Bulldogs had gone all season without an Ivy League victory until Wednesday night. Yale (7-7, 1-4 Ivy) finally put an end to its frustration with a 3-2 victory at Columbia (4-8, 1-5 Ivy).
Yale had played Ivy teams closely, but never seemed to be able to finish strong enough to win, suffering overtime losses to both Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. Wednesday night, the Bulldogs fell behind early when Columbia’s Melissa Macomber scored at 29:40.
The Bulldogs trailed 1-0 until Marissa McNaughton ’03 came off the bench and evened the score with her second goal of the season at 13:54. Columbia capped an evenly played first half when Nikki Campbell converted on a penalty corner with at 6:09 to give the Lions a 2-1 lead heading into halftime.
Yale entered the second half facing the disappointing possibility of losing a fifth consecutive Ivy League contest. Players said that there was a feeling of urgency on the Yale bench.
“We made some adjustments and came into the second half confident,” said Sarah Driscoll ’05, who led the Bulldogs with a goal and an assist.
Head coach Ainslee Lamb said that despite the situation, she did not feel anxious.
“[The players] truly believed they were going to win,” she said.
In the second half, the Yale defense and goalie Krissy Nesburg ’04 kept the Lions at bay, finishing the game with 11 saves.
Tovia Martirosian ’02 opened the scoring in the second half at 22:45, beating Lions’ goalkeeper Molly Starsia-Lasagna off a penalty corner. Driscoll fed captain Caroline Thompson ’02, who faked a shot, giving Martirosian a clean shot on goal.
Four minutes later at 17:49, Driscoll scored the game winner, assisted by Suzanne Anthony ’03.
“We have played so many intense games and it was nice to finally win,” Driscoll said.
Lamb said that the win was also good for the team mentally.
“There is a sense of relief,” she said. “[The team] deserved to win one of these close games.”
The Bulldogs will look to build on this win when they travel to Boston University Saturday for their last non-conference game of the season. After Boston, Yale will travel to play Princeton, one of the top teams in the country, and then will host Brown in the season finale.
Lamb was reluctant to make predictions about the rest of the season, saying she prefers to take the season one game at a time.
“What I’m thinking about right now is the BU game,” she said. “It’s very feasible for us to beat them.”
This will not be an easy feat for the Bulldogs, despite the Terriers’ 7-11 record. BU, who beat No. 19 Dartmouth earlier in the season, is a nationally prominent program.
The Princeton game will be an even tougher challenge. The Tigers are undefeated in the Ivy League and are ranked No. 7 in the nation.
Nevertheless, Lamb said she and her players are undaunted.
“We really have nothing to lose and [Princeton and BU’s] programs have a lot to lose,” she said. “We will win if we play the way we played against Columbia.”